Graphic shows estimated increase in average airfares with social distancing measures on aircraft, compared to 2019.


Airfares could rise due to social distancing on planes

May 19, 2020 - As air travel returns for the summer, social distancing on aircraft has become a topic of debate. Airlines could reduce capacity by leaving middle seats empty, but most would struggle to make a profit without increasing fares.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the body representing global airlines, has argued against keeping middle seats empty because of the damage flying two-thirds full would do to airline profitability.

IATA is instead recommending the wearing of face coverings for passengers and masks for crew as more effective measures to ensure the safety of all on board.

Despite the call for common standards, some nations are applying their rules just to airlines registered in their country, while others are applying them to foreign carriers, Reuters said.

There are no government-imposed measures in the United States, though all major U.S. airlines require facial coverings and several are capping the number of seats sold or leaving middle seats empty.

In Europe, airlines are largely resisting calls to leave the middle seat empty but have publicised other changes designed to reassure passengers.

PUBLISHED: 19/05/2020; STORY: Graphic News
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